Hatem Ben Arfa will miss the start of Newcastle United’s Europa League campaign due to a suspension dating back to 2010.
The French international is unavailable for both ties against Greek side Atromitos due to a three game suspension picked up at former club, Marseilles.
Man of the match in the Toon Army’s Premier League victory over Tottenham Hotspur, the 25 year old misses out after seeing red for the French side in a 2-1 home defeat to Benfica.
It is doubtful whether Saturday’s match-winner would have been selected for Thursday’s clash in Athens anyway, with several key players likely to be rested for the Geordie outfit. Magpie manager, Alan Pardew is said to be prioritising Saturday’s league clash with Chelsea over Europe’s secondary competition.
Pardew may use the mid-week fixture to blood youngsters such as Sammy Ameobi and Harris Vuckic, whose first team opportunities were restricted last term.
The Toon Army are back in European competition after a six year hiatus, after upsetting the odds to finish fifth last season.